City, county step in to keep health insurance program running

City, county step in to keep health insurance program running

The Dane County Board of Supervisors voted Thursday night to provide emergency funds to keep a program that helps vulnerable populations get health insurance.

“This is very hard for anyone to understand,” Donna Friedsam, director of Covering Wisconsin, said of health insurance.

Friedsam said it can be even more difficult for non-English speakers and low-income people to understand. So that’s where her team of Obamacare Navigators, who are multilingual and well-versed in the marketplace, comes in, guiding those populations.

“So that they can choose a plan that is good for their financial circumstances and is going to take care of their health circumstances as well,” Friedsam said.

Last year, 860 people became insured in Dane County using a navigator.

“Navigators are helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community connect with the insurance coverage that they need,” said Sharon Corrigan, the county board chairwoman said.

In September, Covering Wisconsin was told that funding would be reduced in Dane county by 42 percent, so the county and city joined together to share the more than $107,000 cost to keep it up and running.

“If a medical situation arose that they didn’t have coverage that’s a situation where the county has to fund services to a family in crisis, so it’s in everyone’s best interest for families to get coverage that they can afford,” Corrigan said of the program.